Is the New Super Oil, Bakuchiol, a Replacement for Retinol?


Topical vitamin A, such as retinol and new queen of retinoids, Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), are considered the gold standard in effective cosmeceutical vitamin A. In the world of skincare, everyone finds themselves reaching for effective retinoids as soon as we notice the first signs of skin ageing.

But not everyone can tolerate retinoids and it is not advisable to use retinoids during pregnancy. Enter the precious oil Bakuchiol. This active botanical oil is making waves in the beauty industry. Let’s dive into what this new ‘it’ ingredient is, the skin benefits it offers, and discuss whether it can really replace your vitamin A.

What is bakuchiol?

Originating in India and Sri Lanka, Bakuchiol is derived from the babchi plant (Psoralea corylifolia). It has exploded into the beauty industry suggesting it is a retinoids replacement without the potential of adverse reactions, such as skin flaking and dryness. Bakuchiol now has the label of nature’s gentler alternative to vitamin A, with clinically proven retinoid-like benefits.

What are the skin benefits of bakuchiol?

With comparable skin benefits to vitamin A derivatives such as retinol and HPR, Bakuchiol also stimulates the production of collagen, prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin within the skin, addresses hyperpigmentation, and promotes the production of healthy new skin cells. Bakuchiol also exhibits additional skin benefits. Clinical data results show that it can inhibit the breakdown of elastin (the skin protein that makes our skin spring back) by up to 62% more than retinol. Unlike retinoids, bakuchiol also has the added benefit of being a potent antioxidant to protect skin from damaging and ageing free radical attack.

What is the difference between bakuchiol and retinol?

Despite giving very similar skin benefits, Bakuchiol and retinoids (such as retinol) share no chemical resemblance to one another. When applied topically to the skin, bakuchiol and retinoids take different pathways and have very different biochemical interactions within the skin. Bakuchiol also exhibits added skin benefits versus retinol, offering potent antioxidant protection, being more tolerable to sensitive skin types, and being safe to use whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.

So, is bakuchiol a replacement for retinol?

There is no doubt that bakuchiol should have a place in your skincare routine and is a great all-rounder for all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have had previous adverse reactions to retinoids, bakuchiol is the perfect vitamin A replacement for you. However, if you are retinoid tolerant and are seeking the ultimate youth-boosting results, then retinoids and bakuchiol can be used in conjunction with one another as they work in different chemical pathways on the skin.

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